Obituary for Barbara Burdette Welch
Barbara Burdette Welch, 77, began the celebration of eternal life with her savior, Jesus Christ, on February 13, 2017. She was surrounded by her family at home in Charleston, WV, as she completed her battle with a long illness.
Barbara was born on June 29, 1939, in Hinton, WV, to Lawrence "Chisel" and Margaret Burdette. She had two brothers: the late L.W. "Chiz" Burdette and surviving brother James Russell Burdette of Charleston, WV.
Barbara graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School and was a model for the Diamond Department store. She met her husband, John Welch, in July of 1959 while vacationing in Daytona with friends. It was love at first sight as they married five months later on December 26, 1959. She moved to Atlanta, GA, while her husband completed his education and football career at Georgia Tech. While there, she was employed by C&P Telephone and American Fore Insurance.
The family moved back to Charleston, WV, in 1964 and Barbara became a mother, homemaker and community activist, working toward advancing our public education system for every child. She led the charge for new schools in Sissonville and on the West Side. She served as a member of the Kanawha County Board of Education for several years.
She was an active member of Emmanuel Baptist Church, serving as a deaconess and choir member. She was best known, however, for her tireless work in American Baptist Women's Ministries (ABWM). She served the organization as a church circle leader, board member for the Kanawha Valley Association of ABWM, and as chair of Love Gift for the state board of ABWM.
Barbara never met a stranger, and impacted every person she met with her kindness, honesty, and her love for family and friends and the Mountaineers. She had a soft spot in her heart for children and saw the potential in them when few other people did. She generously sprinkled every conversation with Biblical scripture and her love for the Lord. She was happiest in her expansive flower garden or at Capitol Market during the spring and summer months. Barbara always said, "Being rich to me is being able to buy all the pansies I want." Her smile could brighten up a room and her laugh was contagious but most of all she saw all people as equals because she always said, "We are all God’s children."
In addition to her wonderful husband of 57 years, John, and her brother, Barbara is survived by three children: Jay Welch (wife Annette) of Gainesville, FL, and Mike Welch (wife Rose) and Jennie Curry (husband Howard) of Charleston; seven grandchildren (Robert Myers, Charles Myers, Sammantha Welch, Michelle Johnson, Jenna Curry, Julianna Welch, and MacKenzie Welch); two great-grandchildren (Josh and Todd Myers); and a host of nieces and nephews.
The celebration of Barbara's life will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, February 17, at Emmanuel Baptist Church with The Rev. Ronald Stoner officiating. Graveside service following at Floral Hills Cemetery in Sissonville, WV. The family will receive friends from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, February 16, at Long & Fisher Funeral Home in Sissonville, WV.
Barbara loved flowers, but she also believed in the mission of the ABWM Love Gift. Contributions may be made in her name to Emmanuel Baptist Church, 1401 Washington St. West, Charleston, WV 25312. Memo: ABWM Love Gift.